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Published: 14.06.2010
Updated: 24.01.2012
Abhiseka, Abhiṣeka

consecration, ablution

Sanskrit: Abhiṣeka

Indian tradition relates the Abhiṣeka motif usually to the Hindu goddess Śrī Lakṣmī. In her appearance as Gajalakṣmī she is attended by a couple of water sprinkling elephants.

Jina Abhiṣeka

According to the Ācārāṅgasūtra (2.15.9) Mahāvīra was brought to Mount Meru by god Śakra (Indra) in the night after his birth. Śakra made himself fivefold to carry the child safely to the top of the mountain, where the 63 Indras came to bathe the future Jina.

Similar legends were told about Pārśvanātha and Ṛṣabhanātha.

The Jina Abhiṣeka is a common subject of Jain miniature paintings and illustrates manuscripts of the Kalpasūtra and other texts.

Mahāvīra sits on the lap of Śakra who is enthroned on the top of Mount Meru, some peaks of the mountain appear beneath the flat throne. Two of the 63 Indras are depicted beside him, holding pitchers of water. Four bulls are created by Śakra to stand in the four directions. Two of them are depicted on each side of the gods head, according to the legends spilling water out of their horns. The parasol above emphasizes the significance of the occasion.

Miniature painting from a Yaśodharacaritra manuscript (paper, c. 1440-1460 CE, Western Indian Style, Delhi-Gwalior).


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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Abhiṣeka
  2. Indra
  3. Jina
  4. Lakṣmī
  5. Mahāvīra
  6. Meru
  7. Mount Meru
  8. Pārśvanātha
  9. Sanskrit
  10. Ṛṣabhanātha
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